Massive search & rescue operation launched after EgyptAir flight disappears

Flight MS840 was in Egyptian airspace when it went off the radar with over 60 passengers on board.

FILE: An EgyptAir flight (generic) Picture: EGYPTAIR/Facebook.

CAPE TOWN/JOHANNESBURG - The Greek military and Egyptian navy have joined in the massive search and rescue operation for an EgyptAir flight that went missing off the Mediterranean coast this morning.

EGYPTAIR has contacted the concerned authorities and bodies and inspection is underway through the rescue teams.

The scheduled flight from Paris to Cairo was nearing its destination when it went off the radar.

Flight MS840 was in Egyptian airspace when it disappeared with more than 60 passengers on board.

An EGYPTAIR official declared that EGYPTAIR A320 aircraft in its flight number MS804 lost contact with radar above the Mediterranean Sea.

The plan has not been heard from in more than four hours.

Aviation safety analyst David Soucie says, "There's a period of time in that route where you are out of communications but to have it this long is very rare because there are several different kinds of communication. There's low frequency communication, high frequency communication and digital communication, none of which we've had reports of them using."

It's feared the plane may have crashed into the sea, but aviation expert Peter Goelz says it's too soon to speculate on what happened.

"It's too soon to point in any direction and this is a very safe period of the flight but for it to disappear off the radar screen without any distress call from the flight crew is very ominous."


EgyptAir says a distress call could have been made from the plane before it disappeared from radar.

Families of passengers rushed to Cairo International Airport shortly after dawn while the Egyptian and Greek military scrambled aircraft and boats to search for the plane.

"They're at the potential scene where the plane lost contact to get information within the next hour."


The International Relations Department has confirmed there are no South Africa citizens on board the missing flight.

Department spokesperson Clayson Monyela says, "According to the passenger list that's been released by EgyptAir, there are no South Africans on this flight. Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of people on this flight."

#Egyptair has published a list of passengers for Flight #MS804 NO South Africans.

The passengers' nationalities are as follows:

  • 15 French

  • 30 Egyptian

  • 1 British

  • 1 Belgium

  • 2 Iraqis

  • 1 Kuwaiti

  • 1 Saudi

  • 1 Sudanese

  • 1 Chadian

  • 1 Portuguese

  • 1 Algerian

  • 1 Canadian

The pilot had clocked up 6,275 hours of flying experience, including 2,101 hours on the A320, while the first officer had 2,766 hours, the airline said.

Greece said it had deployed aircraft and a frigate to the area to help with the search.

Please continue praying for all the families of #EgyptAir which disappeared. @CNN @TVCNigeria @IFM923

EGYPTAIR has offered toll-free numbers for passengers' relatives as follow:

080077770000 from any landline in Egypt.

A Greek defence ministry source said authorities were also investigating an account from the captain of a merchant ship who reported a 'flame in the sky' some 130 nautical miles south of the island of Karpathos.

The weather was clear at the time the plane disappeared, according to weather reports.

Speed and altitude data from aviation website indicated the plane was cruising at the time it disappeared.

Additional reporting by Reuters.